Mixed Team Ski Jumping: Everything You Need To Know Before Watching

As the 2022 Winter Olympics approach, fans of the global tournament can expect to see a couple of sports making their debut. One of them will be mixed team ski jumping. The sport of ski jumping itself isn't new to the event. In fact, it's been part of the Olympics since 1924, per Olympics, but it didn't allow for teams until 1988. The sport encompasses a skier performing perfect landing attempts after jumping off a hill or ramp. These jumps are scored and rated by how well the skier lands, per Rules of Sport.

While teams of ski jumpers have been taking place since the late '80s, this time around the Olympics is taking it a step further. Prior to the forthcoming games, they only allowed for teams composed of only men or only women. But in the new mixed team format, both men and women will be competing alongside each other on the same team, against other teams made up of men and women, per Olympics.

Mixed team ski jumping in the Winter Olympics

Per Olympics, a mixed ski jumping team will be made up of two women and two men. The first skier to kick off a team's participation in the games will be a woman, followed by a man, who will be followed by another woman, and conclude with the final man of the team. Other Olympics events have showcased mixed ski jump teams before, such as the Youth Winter Olympics since 2012. But the four-member team made up of equal numbers of men and women was introduced in 2020. And of course, it will now make its Winter Olympics debut.

The mixed team ski jumping scoring is judged on how well skiers jump from the hill to a landing spot, called the K-point, explains Euro Sports. The spot is just a threshold and a jumper can go beyond it, but the distance from the hill to where they land is how points are given and determined.

The rules of ski jumping

If a jumper can pass the K-point, then they stand to earn an even higher score. Competitors are also judged on the gate, the take-off area, and the position of the hill they will ski off of. How high the gate is will affect the score. A high gate, where the competitor can gain more speed, can mean lower points, while the inverse occurs if the gate is lower, per Euro Sports. Points are adjusted when the gate is low or high because it factors into how the skier can jump. 

Once the jumper flies off the hill, how they land is also judged. If they land poorly, it will be considered into their final points. But if they land cleanly, it moves them up the score scale, and that is one of the main goals of the sport. After earning points between the range of zero and 20 for each factor, the lowest point-holders are eliminated and the ones with the highest points advance. 

Countries and athletes to look out for

The teams that are highly expected to advance in the sport at the Winter Olympics are Germany, Norway, and Canada, as these countries have performed well in the sport, per ESPN. But Austria and Japan are some solid contenders, per Olympics. Currently, one of the standout ski jumping athletes is Japan's Ryoyu Kobayashi (pictured) and Germany's Markus Eisenbichler (via Reuters). The two stand toe-to-toe in current ski jump standings. On the women's side, Austria's Marita Kramer and Germany's Katharina Althaus are also two ski jumpers to watch.

Per Olympics, the mixed team ski jumping will commence on February 7, and all the competitions will take place on that single day. The first competition will kick off with a trial round, and then a first and final round. The countries that can take part in the competition must present two members of each gender (via NBC Olympics). Several countries qualified and will be partaking in the mixed gender event, per International Ski Federation.